Earlier this year the federal government started investigating the finances of America’s largest universities, a practice that is shedding light on how gifts from wealthy donors often have quirky strings attached that limit how colleges can spend their money.
Like the guy whose endowment to Princeton is currently valued at $33 million, but can only be spent on stuff related to Greece. Or the Dartmouth alum who mandated that his donation to the English Department be used to provide daily afternoon tea for students and faculty. How civilized!
I’m curious about what possibly questionable limits Wesleyan’s benefactors put on the spending of their money. A throwaway line in PCU comes to mind, where the ultra-PC president of Wesleyan’s doppelganger proposes to spend an endowment surplus on a brand-new Bisexual Asian Studies building.
In all fairness, our Bisexual Asian Studies program is pretty badly underfunded as it is. Seriously though, what’s up Board of Trustees?
Full NYTimes Article: When Strings Attached, Quirky Gifts Can Limit Universities
And Yale’s world is spinning faster than ever, according to the New York Times:
Yale University is rebuilding itself — drawing on its huge, rapidly growing endowment and on multimillion-dollar gifts, mainly from alumni — to renovate 54 buildings and construct 16 new ones. Not since the 1930s has Yale undertaken so ambitious an expansion.
A lot of us complain that Middletown lacks things to do, and places to go. Well, with a few more billions in the bank, maybe Wesleyan could afford to copy Yale, and buy a chunk of downtown wholesale:
Propelled by the construction, Yale has become a big owner of commercial real estate in the surrounding downtown, engaging in a form of urban renewal not unlike what Mayor DeStefano [of New Haven] wants for Route 34. But while the mayor has to extract state and federal subsidies, Yale goes forward with its own money.
Biotech start-ups, restaurants and stores now occupy Yale-owned buildings. Wanting its new campus in upscale surroundings, the university even employs two people full time to recruit boutique retailers in New York and Boston as tenants on spruced-up streets.
What can we take from this article, you ask?
- Yale is filthy rich.
- By the time we get our swanky new science center built, they’ll have probably finished constructing their 16 new buildings.
- Here’s to Roth’s plan to double our endowment during his presidency! It’s an ambitious goal, but one which will hopefully allow us to bring in more low-income students, hire more professors, and build new facilities.
- Michael Roth looks totally badass here:
EDIT: Replaced SuperRoth with a better version.